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Stratford Town and St Ives Town share the spoils after goalless stalemate


Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central Stratford Town 0-0 St Ives Town

Report by Craig Gibbons

STRATFORD Town and St Ives Town shared the spoils after a goalless affair at the Arden Garages Stadium in what was a clash between two sides who have the best defensive records in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central.

The Blues have conceded just 27 goals while St Ives have leaked just 28 and that showed in a real war of attrition in front of a 285-strong crowd.

Thomas Baillie kept with the same team for the fourth consecutive game but once again Town struggled their way through the opening 45 minutes.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of the early possession as Taona Sundire sent a header straight at Town keeper Ross Etheridge in the fourth minute before Andrew Osei-Bonsu lashed a volley horribly wide of the mark six minutes later.

Town did have a good chance to open the scoring in the 16th minute after a decent spell of pressure, but Ross Oulton could only send his left-footed effort a few yards wide from the edge of the penalty area.

St Ives showed why they have the second-best defensive record in the league as they were first to every single ball launched into the box.

And despite having the fourth-worst goalscoring record, they had another good opportunity to take the lead midway through the half when Danny Kelly created some space for himself at the back post following a small nudge on Jamie McAteer, but he could only drill his effort straight into the grateful arms of Etheridge.

Then with five minutes to go George Bailey guided a volley just over the bar from Ben Baker's cross from the right-hand side.

Town did have the last say in the half, but Wilson Carvalho's free-kick from some 30 yards out went harmlessly wide of Martin Conway's near post.

Five minutes into the second period St Ives wasted their best chance of the match when Oliver Snaith surged into the box and squared to Bailey, but he could only fire straight at Etheridge from six yards out with the whole goal to aim at.

A lacklustre Town came agonisingly close to nosing themselves ahead just past the hour mark but were denied by the woodwork when Oulton's deflected effort from outside the area cannoned off the crossbar.

St Ives certainly looked the more likely to open the scoring, with Andrew Osei-Bonsu shooting straight at Etheridge after cutting inside onto his right foot.

Immediately up the other end Town should have taken the lead when Shariff found himself one-on-one with Conway but the St Ives keeper did well to keep the effort out.

With time running out, the game started to become more end to end but neither side could find that cutting edge to come away with the three points.

TOWN: Ross Etheridge, Chris Cox, Kynan Isaac, Jordan Williams, Jamie McAteer, Lewis Wilson, Albi Skendi, Nabil Shariff, Ross Oulton (Will Grocott 66), Wilson Carvalho (Dan Preston 82). Subs: Cody Fisher, James Behan.

ST IVES: Martin Conway, Mark Coulson, Ben Toseland, Taona Sundire, Charlie De'Ath, Danny Kelly, George Bailey (Ben Seymour-Shove 73), Robert Parker, Andrew Osei-Bonsu, Oliver Snaith, Ben Baker (Jake Newman 73). Subs: Owen Wallis, Jarvis Wilson, Jordan Patrick.

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